Doctor Who has had many companions over the years, but now, for the first time, he’s getting one that’s openly gay. Pearl Mackie, who’s playing new companion Billie Potts, will reveal her sexuality in the first couple of lines she speaks when the show returns to British TV for its tenth season (since its revival).
“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” says Mackie (via the BBC).
She adds, “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show. It’s important to say people are gay, people are black – there are also aliens in the world as well so watch out for them. I remember watching TV as a young mixed race girl not seeing many people who looked like me, so I think being able to visually recognise yourself on screen is important. [Being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character – it’s something that’s part of her and something that she’s very happy and very comfortable with.”
Since the show returned to TV in 2005, there have been several gay and bisexual characters, such as Captain Jack (John Barrowman), River Song (Alex Kingston), as well as Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her wife Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart). However, while these characters have appeared in numerous episodes, they haven’t travelled with the Doctor full time.
The series returns on April 15th, and promises to be the last featuring Peter Capaldi in the title role.